This winter, the wrestling team has entered the season equipped with off-season preparation. For Co-Captain Patrick Sockler ’15, Noah Ziegler ’16, and James Verbeyst ’17, among others, preparation for this year has been a main priority since the end of their last season.
“I wrestle five times a week and I do that the whole year long,” said Verbeyst. “I’ve had 110 matches since the end of last season.”
Sockler has also wrestled for multiple clubs and has competed in off-season tournaments. His training often consisted of lifting a couple times a week and following Head Coach Rashone Johnson’s off-season regimen of running and lifting to keep in shape.
Many members of the team also trained at a local club together, in addition to attending a camp at The College of New Jersey over the summer.
On the side, Ziegler, who is in the 220 weight class, played football for PHS this fall as a lineman, where many of the techniques he practiced carry over to his wrestling on the mats. “I [played] football before the season started. I try to lift between three and four times a week and I like to run on occasion,” said Ziegler.
“The team is really working hard; [we’ve] got a nice group of guys, and they all seem eager to get better and learn some things,” said Johnson, who has been a wrestling coach at PHS for 17 years. “[We’ve] got some good things going on this year.”
The team has set several goals for the upcoming season on both the individual and team levels.
“I want to get 33 wins [and] district place winner, region top four, and Mercer County Champ,” said Verbeyst, who is in the 126-pound weight class.
Last year Sockler got to regionals but intends to go one step further this year. “My main goal [this season] is to place in the state tournament in Atlantic City in early March,” said Sockler. “[The team] wants to place top six at the Mercer County Tournament. We want five district qualifiers, four region qualifiers, and two state qualifiers.”
Johnson said, “If the guys practice as hard as they have been and they continue to … stay focused, they will do well.”
With clear goals set in mind for this year’s season to come, the boys have pulled together the skills that they have accumulated in the months leading up to the start of the season.